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Of Sticks and Snakes

Hold On To Your Serpent and the Fear Will Fade

54 min

Class Summary:

Of Sticks and Snakes- Hold On To Your Serpent and the Fear Will Fade

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  • TB

    Tuvia Bolton -11 years ago

    Moshe, Mordechi and the Rebbe
    Thank you for the excellent essay. But I think the point should be made that in addition to the essential connection of the Jews to HaShem and His Torah that saved them from Haman, the Midrash you brought gives an additional answer (or perhaps the main answer) with the sentence from Psalms:   

    "were it not that Moses, His chosen one, stood before Him in the breach to return His wrath from destroying,’



    Namely that Moshe saved them. and w/out Moses things would have turned out (G-d forbid) differently. So too Mordechi v.s. Haman and today the Rebbe v.s. Persia and all our enemies.



    Moshiach NOW!

    Sincerely

    Tuvia Bolton

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  • N

    NDN -11 years ago

    physical/spiritual destruction
    I was also surprised to learn that in fact, the decree only applied to Jews who remained Jews.  However, they had the option of converting and escaping the decree.  The amazing thing is that not one single Jew gave up on being a Jew!!!  The Rebbe, in a Sicha, compared Haman to Hitler, and explains why Hitler did not give the Jews the choice abandon Judaism.  Our neshamas were in such a state of concealement that unfortunately, many Jews would have converted. However our essence Neshama always remains faithful and every Jew who died in the Holacaust is considered to have died al kiddush Hashem and earned a high place in Olom Haba.

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  • AN

    Adam Neira -11 years ago

    The People of the Holy Land and Persia.
    An interesting article. I spent a few minutes reading it. But I was waiting for the punch line. i.e. What does the author think is the optimal solution to the Iran/West imbroglio ?



    P.S. Recently Google scientists discovered that a Rubik's Cub can always be solved in twenty moves no matter how diabolical the configuration if the right algorithm is in place. They call this the "G-d Algorithm".

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  • A

    anonymous -12 years ago

    The decree
    Could it also be that the reason the Children of Israel cannot be destroyed...even by HaShem... is because of the prayer Moses said on behalf of Israel... and it was then.. "locked" into ... existence or place... forever?  HaShem reconsidered and then it was so!

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  • M

    menachem -12 years ago

    footnote links need fixing
    the footnote links are still referencing a document on a computer instead of the webpage. They need to be fixed.

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  • A

    Anonymous -12 years ago

    sticks and snakes video
    I am inspired by the lecture of Rabbi Jacobson! There is much good emunah in this talk about the relationship between fear and faith in the G_d of Israel. I see the correlation between the serpent in the garden and the other serpents as teaching a lesson on a different level than what we are used to seeing! One additional idea I had about the bronze serpent on the pole is that it is in relationship to the pole. The pole or stick (rod) of Moses in the freeing of Israel from Pharoah and Egypt is also what separates them from the evil venom of the serpent and disease. The snake here is separated from the people by a pole which lifts it up into the area between earth and heaven. Does this make any sense?

    Ticvatenu

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  • CK

    Choni Kihleel -13 years ago

    Thank you
    Thank you for this wonderful Shiur. I attended much of your "Tales of Two Souls" live. It's nice to see that I can once again be a weekly participant in your classes again (almost) live.

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  • K

    Kayo -13 years ago

    I will try to see Paraoh as an opportunity
    Baruch HaShem

    Thank you for the fundamental, yet often forgotten truth with which we should face our life's Paraoh. My greatest fear is work. Now I am not working but once I start looking for job, and working, I predict there must be obstacles to serve HaShem. But I try to see them as opportunities to shed the light to reveal all are derived from Diviniy. I will try to remember when I meet snakes, I will look up our Father.

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  • K

    Kayo -13 years ago

    Your action speaks your teaching
    Baruch HaShem

    Your brave act and speech, and Ahavat Israel and Ahavat HaShem shown at the rally in Yerushalyim to salute the settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria and Yerushalyim tell me what you teach is what you are.

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  • I

    Isaac -14 years ago

    to Moshe
    Briliant. well done. i loved your point.

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  • M

    Moshe -14 years ago

    Evolution
    I make a distinction between Evolution and evolution. Big E Evolution is Darwin's theory of the origin of life. Small e evolution is the process, created by Hashem, by which living beings adapt to their environment. Many people believe that because evolution is a scientific fact, therefore Evolution is also. Due to contradictory evidence and lack of key evidence, it is a giant leap of faith from e to E.

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  • S

    Shmuli -14 years ago

    A Source Indeed
    Being fortunate to enjoy the Rabbi's video presentation as well, I could not help noticing,in the curriculum, footnote 3. Megilla
    Page 12, Side a, the following:“To comply with each man's wish.”
    Rava said to comply with the wish of
    Mordechai and Haman. In other words, both Mordechai and Haman were had some part in the planning of how the feast was set up, Mordechai making sure that there would be kosher alternatives in case some Jews actually came to the feast; and Haman seeing to it that the non kosher alternatives would be very enticing. Haman was certainly in a position to make sure that the Jews who came would receive VIP treatment and make them feel that "they were now a member of equal standing in the family of nations at Achashveirosh’s table".
    As for Chanukah vs. Purim, the difference remains intact. The Greeks only goal was to spiritually destroy the Jews, whereas Haman's goal was to physically destroy the Jews, attempting to destroy them spiritually only to make them vulnerable to the physical destruction he had planned. However, "The fish will never fully leave the water, and the Jews will never die."
    A Freilechen Purim!

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  • T

    TK -14 years ago

    Source
    indeed. is there a source that the kings feast and it's negative strategy was in some way associated with haman.

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  • B

    benny -14 years ago

    Source for Haman against Torah
    Very nicely done. Thanks you.

    I wonder what the source is for haman's intent to separate the jews from torah.

    I always understood that the decree on purim was different than that of chanukah, as the latter was spiritual battle and former was a plan to physically annihilate the jews.

    Chanukah was a battle of religion, Hellenist vs Jew, whereas Haman didn't differentiate between observant or non-observant Jews.

    Is it because he said "vdoseihem shonos mikol am?"

    I would have loved to see more support from actual sources that to bolster the point of your essay

    Again, yasher koach and freliechen purim

    Benny

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  • M

    Marilyn -14 years ago

    Revenge of a Bird
    B"H
    Dear Rabbi,
    I want to tell you how much "I" personally appreciate your writings...each and everyone is outstandingly thought provoking/inspirational. This one I am going to print out and hand out on Purim to the adults at our Chabad Shul (Rabbi Shalom Raichik). P.S. I never knew/ heard that the Jews were 'invited' and 'went' to the King's dinner. That was quite a shocker to me...and so good to prove the point of what happens when we Jews have 'made it'...or think 'we have made it'. Thank you for sharing what I see as a 'blessing' you have to put into writing all that you do. Thank you for 'sharing' all this with so many of us.

    Marilyn

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  • D

    Dee -14 years ago

    Wonderful Article
    This was a great article. I especially identified with the whole aspect of Torah being in our DNA. Even in moments of weakness, I still feel that 'being Jewish' is as vital to my existence as my heart and brain are.
    In regards to Darwinism... I find it more ludicrous to believe that this entire wonderful and diverse world was formed by single cells over the course of any number of years; then to believe that an all-powerful G/d created it in the blink of an eye. The more I learn about the world, and the more scientific journals I read, the stronger my faith in G/d grows.

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  • C

    chuk -14 years ago

    saddam
    oh, and i think sadam hussein claimed to actually be a direct descendant of the nevuchadnezzar...

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  • S

    suri -14 years ago

    darwinism
    It's called Darwin's theory of evolution because it is. Just a theory. I give Darwin credit for his incredible imagination. He cooked up a nice story for those who don't want Hashem to be in charge of this world.

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  • R

    RJ -14 years ago

    Mark, re: "Darwinism"
    Mark, I think you are confusing the study of science with the study of history. Scientific theories can be debated on their merits, but even the most scientific analysis of evolution and the way it explains animal and human development cannot tell us definitively what happened in the past, because even if a theory makes sense, that doesn't necessarily mean that the historical developments actually occurred that way. They may just have easily occurred in some other way, regarding which we may or may not yet have the scientific knowledge to understand scientifically. Logically therefore, the science of evolution need not disturb the Biblical-based views of the origins of mankind and the history of the world. There is no incompatibility there at all, simply because science and history are mutually exclusive fields of study.

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  • MO

    Mark Orman -14 years ago

    Comment on the essay "Revenge of the Bird"
    Dear Rabbi:

    I take exception to your pejorative reference to Darwinism. Whatever the common perception is, to those who are interested in science, Darwin's analysis of Evolution and its explanation of animal and human development is indisputable, and can only be dismissed by the ignorant. The problem really is that religious fundamentalists have recoiled at the implications of evolution because it disturbs their long held views of man's origins based on biblical and religious liturgy. However, evolution need not be an anathema to religion or Torah. As discussed in Scroeder's books on this subject and emphasized increasingly by the modern orthodox, Torah need not be incompatible with scientific precepts. Pitting science (which Darwin's theories ARE)against religion only creates an unecessary conflict that does injury to both, but expecially I fear to religion.

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  • SK

    Sara Kaplan -14 years ago

    thank you
    I heard "az men darf danken un beten" Thank you very much for your lectures. where did the previous lectures and essays disapppear to?

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  • AN

    Adam Neira -14 years ago

    Acquiescence
    The part of the Pentateuch discussed here is very relevant to today's global situation. Moses is assisted in his divine mission by G-d.

    The Twelfth Article of Faith is a fascinating part of the Jewish faith. The question that is the most interesting regarding the prophecy relates to the potency of the connection of Moshiach to G-d. If G-d wants a certain form of sovereignty to reign from the Holy City then he may force certain things to unfold. Whether the leaders of the Jewish people acquiesce to his wishes is the test. Is the idea of good reign for good rain far fetched or correct ?

    What is the value of good rainfall for the people of the Holy Land ?

    This question is of the highest metaphysical order. I think G-d is going to help answer this question in the very near future.

    I never underestimate his power.

    http://www.israelnationalne...

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  • ML

    meira lerman -14 years ago

    questions and excersizes
    Questions and Exercises
    1. Why does the Exodus story revolve around sticks bring transformed into snakes?
    Let’s see: a stick is a reveal form of Divine Presence and a snake is a result of very restricted and concealed form of Divine Presence. One can be transformed into another by possessing it. Besides, there are different levels of good and various forms of concealment. Eventually this episode encompasses two existing modes of Divine energy. Good and evil, no matter how opposite they are, both have strong connection to the Source that, by definition, is “neither good nor evil”. Right? (Next time I will try be more specific.)
    2. What are your three greatest fears in life?
    Thorough search for constant phobia or something really threatening made me to delve in material, physiological and spiritual layers of my psyche, where I found following: a snake, scare of taking a bite that would not be able to masticate and panic in front of total names debasing.
    3. What is your single greatest fear?
    Though snake is my single uncontrollable fear, my constant dread is in the process of words devaluation. (Do we have some references about it in Ecclesiast?)
    When I just “smell” this phenomenon in the air, either in a talk, or in relationship or Media, it scares me to death. I dread when words stop carrying their meaning like holey cups. Isn’t it a real threat for our communications, our unity, our existence or it’s only in my inflamed imagination, where a proverb “to carry water in sieve” turns into a nightmare? Do we have a taste of it since Babylon tower…
    How do you deal with it?
    No medication but meditation: reading from our Main Guide, constantly focusing on positive (like chabbad.org, aish.com and few scholars’ teachings), and consulting with Dictionary from time to time.
    4. Do you think you should deal with these fears differently?
    Sure!
    As an old Russian slogan states: “Take more actions – use fewer words!” that in Judaism means 248 +365 and 7.
    5. What is the significance of the fact that when Moses drops the stick it becomes a snake, and when he fetches it, it reverts to a stick?
    Fascinating insight of all our challenges! Having different kind of fears, troubles, long -term sores, unresolved problems, we used to keep an eye on them. No matters how hard to work them through, as long as we can fight, control or just talk about them they are like our staff, they are scores in our favor but when we draw our attention away from them, drop them from our mind, let them escape from light into darkness of subconsciousness we become losers. Then only extensive courage and strength can change the score of the game…
    6. What does the snake represent? What does the staff represent?
    May I start with the staff? Staff, is like a straight light from above; it is a symbol of holiness, truth, trust, and rallying. It is an important tool of climb up, warder, rule and control. It has so many names that reflect it characteristics: a rod, a hock, a stick, verge and so on.
    Snake, on the opposite, never can be straight (unless it is dead and frozen). It changes its direction every moment and the part of it that has been protruded before, turns inward in few seconds later. Add to that its creeping, slip and dark nature and you will get irrevocable egregious wickedness. It doesn’t have so many general names as a staff has only serpents, ophidians, reptile, asp and few more but each type of the snakes associated with dark part of existence differently. Where do they meet? May be through the word a crook, or in a proverb “as wise as a snake”..
    Why are they, at their core, really one?
    Do you know why I am afraid of words losing their meaning? Because if everything roots in the same source, then there is a place where ethics may be nonsense… It’s so easy to lose verge and it is so tempting take a step there and then… be accustom of chaos.
    7. How should we deal with the various “Pharaohs” and “snakes” in our life?
    By facing towards them and never showing them our back.


    (Now, can I take a brake and do what I supposed to do?)

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  • A

    Admin -14 years ago

    To Chanah
    We suggest printing out a physical copy of the curriculum to have by your side while viewing the video. Another option is to resize the windows to that they could fit side by side, best done with the new Windows 7 (otherwise, simply go to the edge until you see arrow, and then press and drag to desireble size).

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  • C

    chanah -14 years ago

    curriculum
    I really enjoyed this discourse with the reinterpretation of the Ten Plagues. Very interesting and as always well done. I listened to your video on The stick and the Snake which was great and I very much like the idea of the accompanying curriculum EXCEPT for one point. I find it disconcerting to have the curriculum appear and you disappear. Is there a way that the curriculum could be placed on the side so one could view both simultaneously. I would find that far more to my liking. I absorb the material best when the conditions are optimal, no talking or cell phones etc.

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  • N

    Netanel -14 years ago

    Sticks and Snakes
    Thought Provoking. Feel Good.Thanks

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  • M

    Moshe -14 years ago

    Question
    Thank you Rabbi Jacobson for the weekly "refreshing" lesson.
    In the parasha of Veira it's Aaron that cast his staff.
    Why is it Aaron and not Moshe?
    Why the Torah called it Aaron staff?
    Shabbat Shalom
    Moshe

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  • A

    Admin -14 years ago

    Admin
    To Michal,

    Our video stream on our end is working uninterrupted. Please check your internet connection.

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  • A

    Aidel -14 years ago

    Question
    As always yasher koach Rabbi Jacobson on a brilliant presentation! Every week I cannot wait to download your shiur and drink of your immense knowledge.
    I have a question on this weeks presentation - if the stick & the snake is representative of everything you shared with us, why then do we have the necromancers of Egypt being able to also do the same conversion of stick into snake..... where does their ability to do the same thing fall in line with all that you taught?
    Lokking forward to your response.

    Aidel

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  • M

    michal -14 years ago

    Can't view shiur!
    The video keeps breaking up. Any suggestions?

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  • C

    Chana -14 years ago

    Sometimes there is no up.
    I loved the idea of what you are saying, but my adult daughter committed suicide as here mind deteriorated from mental illness. Where is up? She was beautiful, intelligent and innocent???

    The Holocaust? Where was up?
    A woman servivor said she heard religious men say as they were gassed. Where are you God? I believed in you. I'm a religious man. Where was up?


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  • AK

    Aidel kazilksy -14 years ago

    Question
    As always yasher koach Rabbi Jacobson on a brilliant presentation! Every week I cannot wait to download your shiur and drink of your immense knowledge.
    I have a question on this weeks presentation - if the stick & the snake is representative of everything you shared with us, why then do we have the necromancers of Egypt being able to also do the same conversion of stick into snake..... where does their ability to do the same thing fall in line with all that you taught?
    Lokking forward to your response
    Aidel kazilksy, Johannesburg South Africa

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  • O

    Orna -14 years ago

    Thank You
    Great shiurim, ישר כח
    If posible chack why the sistem stops in the middle of shiur, sometimes for short breaks and sometime sjust staing stagnant. If can be fixed will be deeply appricieted.
    Thank you

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  • S

    suri -14 years ago

    Wow
    This message couldn't have come at a better time. As always, I'll be sharing this with friends and family.
    May you be blessed.

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  • C

    Chanie -14 years ago

    Thank you
    I hope to share this with others. Thank you

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  • HK

    Hinda K. -14 years ago

    The Staff and The Snake
    Breathtaking lecture.

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  • A

    Admin -14 years ago

    Class Description

    In any artist’s illustration of Moses, he will invariably be depicted holding or lifting a great staff. And for good reason: When G-d charges Moses with his mission to confront Pharaoh and free the Jews from slavery G-d tells him explicitly, “Take your staff in your hand, for with it you shall perform wonders.” Indeed, in both Moses’ first interaction with both the Jews and with Pharaoh, to prove his authenticity, he transforms his staff into a snake.

    As this specific miracle—the transformation of the staff into a snake—is the initiation of Moses role as leader and redeemer, it surely carries within it great significance.

    This class will explore the parallel lines between the interpretations of two great Jewish thinkers: Rabbi Moshe Alshich (Safed, 1508 - 1593) and Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Russia, 1745-1812), the founder of Chabad.

    Both of their explanations teach us a powerful and relevant lesson about our own inner ‘snakes’ and ‘staffs.’

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Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • January 11, 2010
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  • 25 Tevet 5770
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Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein in the loving memory of Alta Shula Swerdlov And in merit of Yetta Alta Shula, "Aliya," Schottenstein

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